Detroit Lakes girls' basketball ready to reload and make another run
With the memorable 2008-09 Class 3A state tournament run in their wake, the Detroit Lakes girls' basketball team will try and offer their fans another good season starting Nov. 28.
The Lakers' season opener at home against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton will mark the start of basically an entirely revamped squad, with the majority of players gone from that senior-driven 2008-09 team.
"We had a great tournament run and had a wonderful experience at Williams Arena last year," said DL head coach Mike Hoganson. "A number of our kids gained some valuable time in pressure situations and (learning) how to perform under pressure."
For the first time in eight years, Hoganson will not have the comfort of, well, a Hoganson running the team at point guard.
For the last eight seasons, either Hallie or Abby Hoganson quarterbacked the Laker offense at point guard. Both excelled at controlling the tempo of the game and keeping good care of the ball.
But with both gone after graduation, the keys to the Red Machine will be handled by either sophomore Courtney Hedstrom or junior Rachel Shane.
Each brings something different, but both are more than capable of running the show.
"Both know the position is up for grabs," Hoganson said. "It's very important for the point guard to keep good care of the basketball."
Hedstrom brings the trait of quickness to the position, as well being as a solid ball handler.
Shane brings length in the backcourt, which will be a vital component on defense.
"Courtney is a bulldog type of point guard who can handle the ball well and also pull up and hit the three pointer," Hoganson said. "Rachel is aggressive and she is long. She will be a good defensive presence with her long arms, which is something we haven't had for a while here."
But neither has much experience running the show at point guard on the varsity level. It will be a work in progress for both players, but something Hoganson is confident will move along smoothly.
"They just need to gain that varsity experience, since the game is faster," Hoganson said. "I think both will continue to improve."
The backcourt will basically be entirely new, but will have talent infused to replace the holes.
At the two guard, senior Ashlyn Jasken will see time and provide leadership, like she did during the volleyball season.
"Ashlyn has a good perimeter shot and she can stretch the defense and knock down the three's like we had Dani Labine do last year," Hoganson said.
Sophomore Kayli Muckenhirn did see time on the court last year, even during the crunch time for the playoffs.
Muckenhirn will provide the team with a good inside-outside threat, a player who can drill the three-point shot, while also being able to slash inside for a layup.
"Kayli possesses so many intangibles," Hoganson said. "She can play point guard at times or even post up if needed at forward."
Sophomore Mackenzie Gedrose will also see time in the backcourt.
The Lakers are more seasoned in the paint at the post positions, with two playoff contributors in juniors Jenny Matter and Taylor Tschider.
Both are coming off of knee injuries, which will keep Tschider out of action until after Christmas.
"Taylor was a pivotal player for us in the tournament last year," Hoganson said. "She is a matchup nightmare for opposing teams in that she can post up with her strength, as well as pull out and sink her perimeter shots."
Matter proved her injury won't be a concern after returning midway through the volleyball season and playing well.
She gained major minutes last season and according to Hoganson, is "bigger, faster and stronger."
Sophomore Courtney Gray will also provide some height in the middle with her 6-1 frame and long arms.
Seniors Hannah Halbakken, Amalea Branden and Jalen Even also provide rebounding ability in the lane.
"Hannah will be key for our rebounding and defensive side of the ball, and Amalea has tremendous strength and is a hard worker. Jalen is an inside/outside threat, who can drive the basket and also provides good length."
The Lakers do possess some more height than in past years, which hopefully will translate into more rebounds and the ability to spark the fast break, which DL will still employ.
"We need to stay together as a team and by tournament time, I think we can be scary," Hoganson said.
2009 Detroit Lakes girls' basketball schedule:
1 Thief River Falls
4 at Staples-Motley
8 at Crosby-Ironton
12 Fergus Falls
18 Pequot Lakes
29-30 at Sartell
5 at Wadena-Deer Creek
7 at Bemidji
15 Park Rapids
16 at Fergus Falls
23 at Alexandria
4 at Thief River Falls
6 at Pequot Lakes
12 Wadena-Deer Creek
13 at Moorhead
18 at Perham
26 at Park Rapids
2 Section quarters
6 Section semifinals at SCSU
12 Section finals at St. John's
17-20 State Tournament.